PLANETARY Written by Warren Ellis and drawn by John Cassaday, it’s the best damn superhero comic book of the past decade, says the Doc, and the key to last week’s No Prize question

Last week, I wrote these words: ”Think of this column as a trading ship traversing the channels that exist among countless alternative potentialities that glitter within Lost like a monolithic theoretical snowflake floating in 196,833 dimensional space, whose captain is fond of stopping on the most unlikely and obscure of many possible worlds.” The comic-book fanboys who read this column had no trouble identifying the reference to the best damn superhero comic book of the past decade, Planetary. Written by Warren Ellis and drawn by John Cassaday, it’s about a trio of super-powered archeologists who dig up the strange secret history of the 20th century, a history that has been suppressed by a mysteriously sinister quartet known as the Four. Ellis and Cassaday used this premise to canvass every possible genre of fantastic fiction imaginable, from Japanese horror to Kubrickian sci-fi, from early-century pulp fiction to late-century Marvel Comics. I was obsessed with Planetary the same way I am currently obsessed with Lost. I loved scouring Cassaday’s panels for ”Easter eggs,” loved parsing all of Ellis’ carefully written lines for code words that might illuminate the larger mystery. In fact, I’ve often wondered if there could be a link between Planetary and Lost…but I’m saving my reasons why for another day.

Anyway, kudos to Canadian reader Jason Fedorchuk for being the first reader to get an e-mail into my inbox with the correct answer. Part of his No Prize: He gets space to advocate his belief that there’s another comic-book series out there with even more relevancy to Lost:

”Did you really just reference Planetary in your column? Wow. I know you like the comic books like I do; why have you not yet name-checked Grant Morrison’s The Invisibles? Secret wars, weird powers, time-jumping mind projection, confusing Us-versus-Them dynamics, themes of identity and purification of self, mystery figures who show up spouting enigmas, and cool heroes who do uncool things. It’s all there.”

Jason offers an interesting reading recommendation, though as a Lost touchstone, I’m not sold — not until the show finds a way to incorporate tantric sex, alien demons, and a ”Brazilian transgender shaman.” FUN FACT! One of the many talented artists who helped bring The Invisibles to life was Doc Jensen’s college roommate and good friend, Phil Jimenez, who is probably tickled by this shout-out but also quite concerned that his old friend is now referring to himself in the third person….

All right, enough geeky comic-book stuff. It’s time to class up this nerdy joint with your theories!



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